Heading out on the road this Thanksgiving to celebrate with family or friends? You’re not the only one. Consider this your go-to guide on everything from what time to leave to avoid the biggest rush, to the safest spot to stow that stuffing so it doesn’t land in your lap if you stop short.
BEST AND WORST DAYS/TIMES TO BE ON THE ROAD
The long Thanksgiving weekend is among the most crowded time for Americans to be driving.
“As it’s one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, based solely on the fact that more people are on the road, it is a more dangerous time to drive,” says AAA spokeswoman Cynthia Brough. “We want people to look out for the three deadly “D”’s of driving – drowsy, distracted, or drunk.”
Plan to be on the road in the mornings. “The higher risk times are in the evenings because people are drowsy,” says Brough. “Also, the later it is in the day, the more cars will be on the road and the more traffic there will be.”
WHERE TO PACK FOOD, GIFTS, AND LUGGAGE
Whether you’re traveling alone or with others, your car will likely be crammed with overnight bags and, if you’re a good guest, gifts, plus your homemade casserole and a bottle of wine.
Besides being uncomfortable for passengers, all of those extras can become dangerous projectiles in the event of an accident. In the event of hard braking, they could pose a serious threat to your clothes.
The safest spot to transport these types of items is always in the trunk (not for people and pets of course.) “But even if it is in the trunk, make sure you strap it down securely because there are some cars where things could come through the back seat pass-through,” adds Bough.
DON’T EAT TURKEY AND DRIVE
Finally, we all know it’s not safe to drink and drive. But stuffing yourself with food and getting back in the car isn’t a great idea either — especially when turkey’s involved. The Thanksgiving bird is known for packing high levels of Tryptophan, an amino acid that brings on sleepiness. And the side dishes that usually accompany the main course, like stuffing and pie, aren’t doing you any favors either. These carb-heavy dishes produce sleep-promoting melatonin and can add to your drowsiness.
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